What could be better than a picnic in the country on a pretty summer day? How about a picnic in the country that raises funds for charity?
Betty Abrey of Imperial, Saskatchewan hosts an annual picnic that does just that. Betty is a member of the Saskatchewan Order of the Eastern Star, a worldwide fraternal organization devoted to charitable work.
"It's always difficult to come up with fund-raising ideas," she says. "I enjoy entertaining, so I thought a 'Picnic in the Country' might be appropriate. The first one was such a success that it became an annual event open to Eastern Star members, their friends and family.
"This summer's picnic will be the eighth one I have hosted. They've always been held in my farmyard and home, but last summer I hosted it at a lake."
Betty, who's a Taste of Home Field Editor, plans the entire day, from the picnic menu to games and musical entertainment...and she prepares the food! "I do all the food preparation, but sometimes others contribute as well. Freezers make it easy for me to fix the dessert and homemade buns ahead of time. I make the salads the day before and day of the picnic."
The buffet-style menu includes such dishes as Saskatoon Pie, Black Forest Cake, Shrimp Rice Salad, Oriental Cabbage, homemade baked beans and ham, turkey or beef brisket.
"A $10 fee is charged for the meal, with all of the proceeds donated. Those unable to attend often make donations, too," says Betty. The 1-day event raises about $1,000.
A different charity is chosen each year. The picnic has benefited such groups as the Children's Health and Hospital Foundation, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and Ronald McDonald House. This summer, the money will go to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. "There are many other charitable organizations that the Saskatchewan Order raises money for throughout the year," Betty notes.
About 65 people attended the first "Picnic in the Country," and each year the numbers have increased.
"The picnic combines the opportunity to socialize with raising money for a good cause," says Betty. "I feel fortunate to play a part in it."